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Amad could be big winner from Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 Manchester United switch

Manchester United youngster Amad will be hoping to play a role in the midweek Champions League game against Young Boys.

With United already locking up top spot in the group, there could be an opportunity. Seeing fellow youngster Anthony Elanga come on in the Premier League at the weekend will fill him with extra hope

In Amad’s favour is United’s tactical switch to a 4-2-2-2 formation under new interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

This switch benefits Amad considerably as he can play in the bank of two players behind the strikers, where there is less competition than the front two.

Manchester United Training and Press Conference
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 03: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Amad and Interim Manager Ralf Rangnick of Manchester United in action during a first team training session on December 03, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Amad’s competition for places in the old system

Amad was far down the list with United playing a front three. He was behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, and Jadon Sancho – arguably down as seventh choice.

Throw in Anthony Elanga, now elevated after his appearance at the weekend, and Amad is eighth choice forward in United’s front three.

Amad’s competition for places a a supporting attacker in a 4-2-2-2

The attraction for Amad in this system is he could become Jadon Sancho’s deputy.

Sancho thrived in the 4-2-2-2 along with Bruno Fernandes, behind strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford.

It is the front two where a major queue now forms, with Ronaldo and Rashford battling competition from Martial, Greenwood, Cavani, and Elanga.

Amad’s versatility sees him in more of a Sancho role, able to provide a creative link between the midfield and attack. The free role could make him even more dangerous.

The young Ivorian may be battling Fernandes and Sancho for a starting berth, but the rest of the competition looks far less daunting.

Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata are in front of him in the queue at present, and neither seem to have long term futures at the club. They could even both be gone in January, with their contracts expiring and both likely to seek regular football.

This, in theory, would bump Amad up to third choice behind Sancho and Fernandes for this particular position. It may see United decide to keep the tricky attacker at Old Trafford for the second half of the season, as opposed to sending him out on loan.

A possible complication is Donny van de Beek, and whether Ralf Rangnick sees him as an attack minded midfielder, or as competition for Fred and Scott McTominay in a deeper role. He could be considered for both roles.

It is conceivable, although unclear, that Mason Greenwood could also be trialled in a deeper role.

There could also be added competition for the positions from youth talents Hannibal and Shola Shoretire, both of who stand to profit if Lingard and Mata leave.

Manchester United v Leeds United: Premier League 2
LEIGH, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Amad of Manchester United U23 in action during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester United U23s and Leeds United U23s at Leigh Sports Village on November 06, 2021 in Leigh, England. (Photo by Tom Purslow/Contributor)

Nonetheless, Amad should be enthusiastic about his prospects. It is better to be third, fourth, or fifth choice in Rangnick’s new system, than seventh or eighth choice in the old system.

He has to take advantage of any chances he gets, and show he warrants an opportunity. The African Nations Cup in January will further complicate his prospects.

But if Amad can have a strong December and make his presence felt, he could return at the end of January to see Lingard and Mata gone, and his path to the first team looking considerably clearer.

If United want a stand-in for Sancho in the role he played at the weekend, then there are not many more exciting talents in world football for Amad. United should be focused on providing him with a first team path, and whether deliberate or not, the new formation could help him out.

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